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Cherie Mortice

Iowans Won’t Be Fooled: We Need #MedicareForAll Now

Last week I took over the lobby of the Master Builders of Iowa in Des Moines with 30 other members of Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement Action, the largest progressive organization in our state, with members in all of our 99 counties. Why, you might ask, did we choose to challenge this association of Iowa’s largest contractors, who hold the bulk of Iowa’s commercial, industrial and public works building projects? The answer is simple: they’re opposed to Medicare For All. We know MBI opposes Medicare For All, because they’re members of the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future. This D.C.-based shadow lobby was founded by the nation’s largest private insurers, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies last year to kill legislation and public support for single-payer health care in this country. For me, affordable health care is not just an idea: it’s a necessity. And why, you might also ask, do the Master Builders of Iowa care so much about health care? That’s a good question. Are they looking to get more contracts to build hospitals, pharmacies and clinics? Or have they simply bought into the Partnership’s vile and misleading rhetoric, that working people don’t actually need access to affordable health care? Regardless, it was our duty to go there and let them know the truth behind the Partnership’s lies, and offer them a choice. The Partnership spends millions of dollars to convince Americans that they don’t actually need better health care. At Iowa CCI Action, we are very clear that we need more health care, not less. And it’s the current corporate model of putting profits before people that has led us to our healthcare crisis. We’re organizing our communities to flip that model on its head: we want to put people before profits, and get corporate profits out of our healthcare system. We won’t rest until we win. We are organized, unafraid, and history is on our side. The time for Medicare for All is now – right now, not tomorrow. And all means all: everybody in, nobody out. Are you with us?

DHS Blocks Congressional Staffers From Migrant Detention Facility

Staffers barred after reports of kids forced to eat rotten food, off floor. Newsweek: "The Department of Homeland Security has prevented congressional staffers from the House Oversight Committee from visiting additional migrant detention facilities along the southern border after allegedly making troubling discoveries in recent weeks at other detention centers, according to a letter sent to DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Thursday. The chairman of the panel, Democrat Elijah Cummings, wrote that in the past two weeks, a bipartisan group of committee staffers made visits to several facilities housing adults and children accused of illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and heard concerning allegations from detainees. Afrer those visits, they were barred from conducting a second trip to see 11 additional facilities — a move that only creates further tension between the Trump administration and the committee as it continues to investigate the president's immigration policies. Migrant detainees told the committee staffers that toddlers, including an infant, held at U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities were being fed burritos — as opposed to age-appropriate food — and a child was told by a CBP agent to drink spilled soup off the floor before receiving more food. Additionally, the detainees said children were held in cold rooms without the appropriate clothing, parents weren't given enough diapers for young children and they were pressured into signing documents in English without translation, according to Cummings' letter."

Warnings Over Vote Manipulation In Virtual Caucuses

DNC to recommend scrapping Iowa, Nevada virtual caucuses. Politico: "The Democratic National Committee will recommend rejecting a plan for 'virtual caucuses' in Iowa and Nevada, introducing a level of uncertainty in the caucus states ahead of the upcoming election season. A source with knowledge of the decision said late Thursday that the DNC will recommend rejecting Iowa’s virtual caucus proposal “due to security concerns.” Sources confirmed to the Associated Press that Nevada’s system faced similar peril. The decision has the potential to cause the most disruption in Iowa, which has traditionally held the first-in-the-nation vote. In 2020, the Iowa caucuses are to take place Feb. 3, 2020. The proposed virtual system is telephone-based voting, designed to allow Democrats to phone in absentee votes, rating their presidential preferences in a ranked choice style. In Iowa, the virtual caucuses were to take place over six days, which was meant to accommodate a new requirement by the DNC allowing fuller access to the voting. DNC members raised concerns about the ability of hackers to disrupt the virtual process."

Touchscreens Switch Votes In MS

Voters say touchscreen machines switched votes in nine Mississippi counties. Truthout: "viral video published on Facebook showed a voter baffled as a touchscreen voting machine repeatedly switched his vote in Tuesday’s Mississippi gubernatorial runoff race. 'It is not letting me vote for who I want to vote for,' the voter in the video is heard saying as he repeatedly tried to vote for former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller Jr. but continued to see Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves’ name marked on the machine. 'How can that happen?' a woman in the background is heard asking. The malfunction happened at a voting precinct in Oxford, The Clarion Ledger reported. Anna Moak, spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office, told the outlet that 19 votes were cast on the machine before the error was detected and it was taken out of service. Moak added that the 'machines are county-owned and tested by local officials” and “to our knowledge, only one machine was malfunctioning.' State officials, however, confirmed at least two other machines in Calhoun County also 'jumped.' One voter reported similarly voting for Waller but having the machine change his vote to Reeves. Though state officials only confirmed problems with three machines in two counties, the Waller campaign told the Ledger that it received reports of the same issue in Leflore, Lamar, Pearl River, Lincoln, Washington, Forrest and Scott counties."

EPA To Roll Back Methane Restrictions

EPA aims to roll back limits on methane emissions from oil and gas industry. NPR: "The Trump administration is proposing to slash restrictions on the oil and gas industry for methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that is a powerful driver of climate change. Environmental groups are alarmed. 'This would be a huge step backward,' said Ben Ratner, a senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund. 'It would cause greatly increased pollution and a big missed opportunity to take cost effective immediate action to reduce the rate of warming right now.' The Trump administration argues it would save the oil and gas industry $17 million to $19 million annually in compliance costs. But that's 'such a small fraction of the industry total cash flow that it's just laughable,' says Harvard University's Steven Wofsy, a professor of atmospheric and environmental science. The Trump administration also says it does not anticipate an increase in the level of methane emissions if the proposal is implemented — but scientists disagree with that assumption. Methane powerfully traps heat, and can warm the atmosphere at 25 times the rate of carbon dioxide. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the oil and gas industry is the largest source of methane emissions in the U.S."

Flowers Conviction Tossed Out By MS Supreme Court

Curtis Flowers’s conviction tossed by Mississippi Supreme Court. NYT: "The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday threw out the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers, a black man who has been tried six times for the same crimes, two months after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutor, who is white, unconstitutionally kept black people off the jury. Mr. Flowers, 49, has been accused of murder in the 1996 killings of four people in a furniture store in Winona, Miss. All six prosecutions have either ended in mistrial or convictions that were reversed on appeal. The case sparked a national conversation about race in the criminal justice system after a podcast investigated the decades-long effort by the prosecutor, Doug Evans, to convict Mr. Flowers."

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